Last weekend we got to visit our grandson and his mom and dad. We hadn't seen them since Christmas day - everyone's been sick off and on since then. The baby even spent one weekend in the hospital being treated for RSV and really had us all worried. This winter has been mild weather-wise, but brutal with illness, at least in this family. So it was nice to have us all be semi-healthy and be able to spend some time with them.
From their house it's not that much farther to our condo so we headed there for the evening. We got an early start on Sunday morning and before heading home, we took a ride out to Barnegat Light, had our Porkroll, Egg, and Cheese sandwiches from the Inlet Deli and then went over to the lighthouse. There were tons of photographers there with their gigantic cameras and tripods that were much better dressed and equipped for taking pictures in the cold weather. We were, as I'm sure they were also, looking for harlequin ducks which usually winter in that area.
This seagull, who watched us eat our sandwiches in the car, seemed to be laughing at us as if he knew it was a fruitless cause.
Along the pathway to the lighthouse area the ground was covered with pinecones and needles.
There were a couple of ducks near the lighthouse itself.
And further out we could see lot's of them in the water, but we couldn't get close enough and I don't really have a lens that will get me close enough to see what was actually out there. I overheard the birders that were set up on the walkway with their tripods say that there were harlequins around the end of the inlet (where we walk in the summer) but we were not venturing onto the sand that day.
Instead, and since HWNSNBP had not worn a hat and was complaining of getting cold which he seldoms does, we left.
But as we crossed over the bay bridge I noticed that there were swans in an area called Mud City and so HWNSNBP generously offered to go back to where they were so I could get some pictures.
We were both quite surprised to find this duck - a female greater scaup - sitting on these rocks near the road.
Neither of us had ever seen a duck that looked like this and we didn't even know what kind of duck it was until I researched it when we got home. Sometimes, I find it's much harder to identify birds when you have the female although I didn't know it was the female. She was very calm standing there and I wonder if she was injured by the way her wing is listing.
There were other ducks in that area too, some too far away to get good pictures of but there were buffleheads and mallards further out, and this red-breasted merganser came a little closer.
One of these days I'm sure we'll get lucky and finally see the harlequins, but I was quite satisfied with this little duck hunt.